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Active substances in Hericium erinaceus can promote nerve growth, opening up a new way to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease

Science and Technology Daily reporter Liu Xia

Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia say a preclinical trial has found that an active compound in Hericium erinaceus promotes nerve growth, thereby enhancing memory. The research, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry, is expected to open up new avenues for the treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Preclinical trials have found that Hericium erinaceus can improve brain cell growth and improve memory.
Image credit: University of Queensland

Professor Frédéric Meunier, who led the study, said: “Extracts from these Hericium erinaceus have been used in traditional medicine in Asian countries for centuries, but we wanted to scientifically determine their potential effects on brain cells .”

Preclinical tests conducted by the team found that Hericium erinaceus had a significant effect on the growth of brain cells and improved memory.

Meunier explained that in experiments they measured the neurotrophic effects of compounds isolated from Hericium erinaceus on cultured brain cells, they found that these active compounds could promote neurons to extend and connect with other neurons. And, using super-resolution microscopy, they found that these Hericium erinaceus extracts and their active ingredients greatly increased the size of growth cones, the terminals at which neuronal axons and dendrites grow, which are essential for brain cells to sense their environment and communicate with the brain. It is especially important to make new connections with other neurons in the neuron.

Test flow chart image source: University of Queensland     

Co-author Dr Raymond Martinez-Marmor said the discovery could open new avenues for treating and preventing neurodegenerative cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. They plan to identify bioactive compounds from natural sources that can reach the brain and regulate neuron growth, thereby improving memory formation.

Dr. Li Daxi from CNG Biological Company also participated in this project. He said that Hericium erinaceus has been used to treat diseases and protect human health since ancient times. The latest research has revealed the molecular mechanism of compounds in Hericium erinaceus and its impact on brain function (especially memory).

Responsible editor: Chang Lijun

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